Historical Center Walk (Self Guided), Guadalajara

Guadalajara’s central area is an exceptional region, where the past harmoniously intertwines with the present. Discover Guadalajara's history in its preserved colonial buildings, enjoy its beautiful squares, admire its nice fountains, and explore Guadalajara Historical Center with this Walking tour.
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Historical Center Walk Map

Guide Name: Historical Center Walk
Guide Location: Mexico » Guadalajara (See other walking tours in Guadalajara)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 16
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.1 Km or 1.3 Miles
Author: Caroline
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Plaza Guadalajara
  • Templo de la Merced
  • Palacio Municipal
  • Catedral de Guadalajara
  • Rotonda de los Jaliscienses Ilustres
  • Museo Regional de Guadalajara
  • Plaza de la Liberación
  • Plaza de Armas
  • Palacio de Gobierno
  • Museo de Cera (Wax Museum)
  • Templo de San Agustin
  • Teatro Degollado
  • Palacio de Justicia
  • Hospicio Cabañas
  • Plaza Tapatia
  • The Libertad Market
Plaza Guadalajara

1) Plaza Guadalajara (must see)

Located in the heart of the historic downtown, just across from the Cathedral’s main entrance, Plaza Guadalajara is another prominent landmark. Previously known as Plaza de los Laureles, the square housed several buildings that were torn down in the 1950s as part of the new city remodeling project. In the center of the square you will find a beautiful circular fountain in the shape of an oyster with fine rose petals. The fountain is home to Guadalajara's coat of arms that features two brave lions resting on the trunk of a tree.
Templo de la Merced

2) Templo de la Merced

Templo de la Merced is situated near the Palacio Municipal, on Hidalgo Avenue, in the center of the city. Originally founded in 1629, the construction of the present church began in 1650 and was completed in 1721. This religious building has a Baroque façade and a fine door arch. Inside you will find several niches; the central one depicts Our Lady of Mercedes. The main altar located in the center is home to sculptures of Madonna and child. You will also see copies of paintings from the seventeenth and eighteenth century created by artist Diego Auditors.
Palacio Municipal

3) Palacio Municipal (must see)

Across the Plaza Guadalajara is situated another landmark, Palacio Municipal. Its construction began in 1949 and finished in 1952 according to plans by Vicente Mendiola. Its central courtyard, corridors, columns, and arches show the colonial style architecture of Guadalajara. Inside you will find a mural created by the artist Gabriel Flores in 1963. It consists of five panels that depict the Spanish conquest, the fall of Pedro de Alvarado, Guadalajara’s founders, the spiritual conquest and the Paseo de Pendón. On the portico you can see Guadalajara’s coat of arms. The Palacio Municipal is open Monday to Friday from 9:00 to 19:00.
Catedral de Guadalajara

4) Catedral de Guadalajara (must see)

The Guadalajara Cathedral or Cathedral of the Assumption of Our Lady is one of the most prominent tourist attraction and religious buildings in the city. This holy place is a Roman Catholic cathedral and a minor basilica. While the original cathedral was founded in 1541, the present one was constructed in Renaissance style with fine neo-gothic towers.

Inside you will see altars made of marble and silver, which are dedicated to numerous saints, beautiful stained glass which was imported from France, the largest organ in Mexico, and huge columns. It is also home to relics of St. Innocent, the remains of former bishops of the Archdiocese of Guadalajara, and the heart of a former Mexican president.
Rotonda de los Jaliscienses Ilustres

5) Rotonda de los Jaliscienses Ilustres (must see)

Rotonda de los Jaliscienses Ilustres (Rotunda of the Illustrious People of Jalisco) is located in Guadalajara's historic city center, near the Cathedral. Built in 1951 according to the plans by Vicente Mendiola, the monument commemorates all prominent personalities from the state of Jalisco. It was previously known as the Rotonda de Hombres Ilustres de Jalisco and houses seventeen striated columns. On the upper stone ring you can see the inscription, "Jalisco a sus hijos esclarecidos" ("To Jalisco's distinguished sons"). In the center of the landmark you will find urns with the cremated remains of those honored here.
Museo Regional de Guadalajara

6) Museo Regional de Guadalajara (must see)

The Regional Museum of Guadalajara is one of the most prominent museums in the city. Located in downtown Guadalajara, this cultural venue with its 14 rooms displays a variety of paleontological objects. Here you will see a number of exhibits of great historical importance, including such items as the "Mammoth of Catarina" and saber-toothed tigers. Housed in an impressive baroque building, the Regional Museum of Guadalajara is also home to an art collection, which presents European and Mexican painters from the 16th through the 20th centuries. The museum is open Tuesdays to Sundays from 9:00 to 17:30.
Plaza de la Liberación

7) Plaza de la Liberación (must see)

Plaza de la Liberación is located between the Cathedral and Teatro Degollado and is also known as the Plaza of the Three Powers Square or "Plaza of the Two Cups." The square is home to two similar fountains, which are in the shape of huge cups. On the north side of the square you will find a bronze statue of Don Miguel Hidalgo y Costill that is represented breaking the chains of slavery. Priest and military leader during the War of Independence of Mexico, he is popularly known as "Father of the Nation." Plaza de la Liberación also houses a flea market, where you will find fine clothes, ceramics, pottery, masks, souvenirs and art objects.
Plaza de Armas

8) Plaza de Armas

Just in front of Palacio de Gobierno you will see a beautiful square - Plaza de Armas. Originally it represented a large garbage dump, which was also a spot for parking of coaches and bullfights. Later the square was cleaned and housed a cistern that supplied water to Guadalajara. In the 17th century it was the largest square in colonial Guadalajara where also the neighbors were preparing for war with the Indians – hence the name of the place. Now it is home to numerous benches, lanterns, a kiosk that was built in Paris, and four small granite fountains. In the corners of the square you will find four bronze Greco-Roman style statues, which are beautiful young women, symbolizing the four seasons.
Palacio de Gobierno

9) Palacio de Gobierno (must see)

Palacio de Gobierno (Government Palace) is another significant landmark and prominent tourist attraction located in the city's historical center. This impressive baroque building was completed in 1774 and is famous for its outstanding murals created by celebrated artist Jose Clemente Orozco. If you walk in, you will see a beautiful patio with a huge number of fine columns and arches representing typical colonial style. By the stairs you will find a beautiful mural dating to 1937 that is definitely worth a visit.
Museo de Cera (Wax Museum)

10) Museo de Cera (Wax Museum) (must see)

Wax Museum or Museo de Cera is situated in the Plaza de la Liberación, on Morelos Street. The venue was opened to the public in 1994 and presents over 120 realistic wax models of numerous celebrated personalities, including Hollywood stars, politicians, actors, singers, historical characters, and well-known significant Mexican figures. The museum is open Mondays to Sundays from 11:00 to 20:00. The world-famous museum “Ripley's Believe It or Not!” famous for its bizarre exhibits, is adjacent to the Wax Museum. The museum houses strange and unusual exponents and also offers an enjoyable experience.
Templo de San Agustin

11) Templo de San Agustin (must see)

The Temple of San Agustin is another prominent religious building of Guadalajara that was built in the sixteenth century in fine baroque style. This sacred place is one of the oldest churches in Guadalajara, and it was consecrated in 1573. It has been rebuilt many times, while the sacristy is original. The building that can be seen to the left of the temple initially functioned as an Augustinian cloister, but now houses the University of Guadalajara's Escuela de Música (School of Music).
Teatro Degollado

12) Teatro Degollado (must see)

Teatro Degollado is a neoclassical Mexican theater known for its diverse performances and artistic design. Many performances (from cultural Mexican dances to international operas) take place at this building. Meant to be a monument of Guadalajara's culture, the theater was inaugurated on September 1866, breathing life through its innovating artistic beauty.

Degollado Theater came to be as a result of Mexico's 1800's theatrical movement. There was a high demand for a great theater in Guadalajara, Jalisco that displayed the cultural arts of the city. In response to the demand, on October 1, 1855, Antonio Perez Verdia proposed the construction of Alarcon Theater (after the classic dramatist Juan Ruiz de Alarcon) to the current governor of the time, Santos Degollado. By December 12 of that same year, Degollado signed the official decree to build the structure, and by March, 1856, Degollado set the first cornerstone of the building. Coming April 1856, Jacobo Galvez was appointed to lead the initial construction of the theater. Due to a three year war in Mexico, and the change of government within the dispute, the completion of the project was slow. On November 12, 1861, Governor Pedro Amazon decided to change the proposed name of the project from "Alarcon Theater" to "Degollado Theater", after ex-governor and general at the time of his dead, Santos Degollado (killed in a battle on June 16, 1861).
Sight description based on wikipedia
Palacio de Justicia

13) Palacio de Justicia

Near the Plaza de la Liberación you will find the beautiful Palacio de Justicia. Originally it was part of the Convent of Santa Maria de Gracia and dates back to 1588. The palace houses a courtyard with stone arches and a fountain in the center. You can also appreciate the wonderful mural by Guillermo Chávez Vega that depicts the most significant moments of Mexico’s history; it can be found in the stairwell of the building. Since 1952 Palacio de Justicia has been home to the state judiciary.
Hospicio Cabañas

14) Hospicio Cabañas (must see)

The Hospicio Cabañas is a World Heritage Site and one of the oldest and largest hospital complexes in Spanish America. The complex was founded in 1791 by the Bishop of Guadalajara in order to combine the functions of a workhouse, hospital, orphanage, and almshouse. It owes its name to Juan Ruiz de Cabañas who was appointed to the see of Guadalajara in 1796 and engaged Manuel Tolsá, a renowned architect from Mexico City, to design the structure. Tolsá's design was based on classic examples such as Les Invalides in Paris and El Escorial near Madrid. The buildings form a rectangle measuring 164 m by 145 m. These are single-storey structures which are 7.5 m in height. The chapel is twice as high and has a dome rising to 32.5 m. The complex is erected on one level, "so as to facilitate the movement of the sick, the aged, and children."

Following the death of Cabañas in 1823, construction continued until 1829. Although it served for a time as a barracks in the mid-19th century, the hospital lasted well into the 20th century and continued to function until 1980, when the Cabañas Cultural Institute, with affiliated schools for arts and crafts, moved in. The highlight of the interior decoration is a series of monumental frescoes by José Clemente Orozco, including one of his most famed creations, the allegory of The Man of Fire.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Plaza Tapatia

15) Plaza Tapatia (must see)

Plaza Tapatia is a monumental square in historical Guadalajara and stretches from the Teatro Degollado to the Instituto Cabañas. The square is 70 thousand square meters and houses several attractions, including many fountains and sculptures. One of them is fountain depicting four children playing with water. Another is a statue of two lions with a tree, which is the coat of arms of Guadalajara. In the center you will see La Inmolación de Quetzalcoatl, a nice fountain in the shape of a cross and five bronze sculptures. This popular square also houses a number of shops, restaurants and cafes.
The Libertad Market

16) The Libertad Market

The Libertad Market , better known as Mercado de San Juan de Dios , is located in the downtown area of the city of Guadalajara , Jalisco , Mexico . It is the largest roofing market in Latin America , 1 with an area of ​​40,000 m² . It was work of the architect Alejandro Zohn and inaugurated the 30 of December of 1958. In the place is much used the haggling, you can find original articles at a better price than in prestigious stores, but also abundant suppliers of counterfeit merchandise and copyright infringement (piracy) .In all the market there are approximately 3000 places, where clothes, lenses, shoes, films, video games, CD musical instruments, electrical appliances, sweets, cold meats, fruits and vegetables, international food, etc. Places of typical food of Guadalajara, like muffled cakes that is the most typical dish of Jalisco, tacos, pozole, etc.) The market consists of three levels and two parking lots: one parking at the top (permanently closed) and the other at the west. The first level has a section where you can find all sorts of typical groceries and sweets, as well as the handicrafts area. In the second level are the inns and small restaurants , with varied Mexican dishes. And in the third level, of more recent creation, are sold articles of import, clothes, electronic, music, films, computer equipment, cans for graffiti, shoes, etc. The market is open every day of the year. It receives visits of neighbors of the zone, as well as of tourists attracted by the crafts.
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in Guadalajara, Mexico

Create Your Own Walk in Guadalajara

Create Your Own Walk in Guadalajara

Creating your own self-guided walk in Guadalajara is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Guadalajara Sacred Places Tour

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Guadalajara is home to a great number of wonderful religious buildings, dating back to colonial era. Many of them are unique architectural treasures of the city and are impressive for their beautiful façades, niches, figures, elegant arches, and striking interiors. Follow this walking tour to find the most visited religious buildings in Guadalajara.

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.8 Km or 3 Miles
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Guadalajara has plenty to keep visitors engaged, and it's in the Centro Historico – the heart of the city – that they'll find some of the most attractive plazas, the massive Cathedral, historic colonial-style buildings, and prominent museums. Here, too, are the strikingly grandiose murals of Jose Clemente Orozco, one of Mexico's three greatest muralists. Theaters, shops,...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.9 Km or 2.4 Miles